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Cannot retrieve contributors at this time Security Advisory #2020-05 (last updated on 2020-04-15)
Title: Local privilege escalation via CDE sdtcm_convert
Application: Common Desktop Environment 1.6 and earlier
Platforms: Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 11) and earlier
Other platforms are potentially affected (see below)
Description: A local attacker can gain root privileges by exploiting a
buffer overflow in CDE sdtcm_convert
Author: Marco Ivaldi <>
Vendor Status: Oracle <> notified on 2019-12-08
CERT/CC notified on 2019-12-09 (tracking VU#308289)
CVE Name: CVE-2020-2944
CVSS Vector: CVSS:3.0/AV:L/AC:L/PR:L/UI:N/S:C/C:H/I:H/A:H (Base Score: 8.8)
1. Abstract.
A buffer overflow in the _SanityCheck() function in the Common Desktop
Environment version distributed with Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 11) and
earlier allows local users to gain root privileges via a long calendar name or
calendar owner passed to sdtcm_convert in a malicious calendar file.
The open source version of CDE (based on the CDE 2.x codebase) is not affected,
because it does not ship the vulnerable program.
2. Example Attack Session.
bash-3.2$ cat /etc/release
Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 s10x_u11wos_24a X86
Copyright (c) 1983, 2013, Oracle and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved.
Assembled 17 January 2013
bash-3.2$ uname -a
SunOS nostalgia 5.10 Generic_147148-26 i86pc i386 i86pc
bash-3.2$ id
uid=54322(raptor) gid=1(other)
bash-3.2$ gcc raptor_sdtcm_conv.c -o raptor_sdtcm_conv -Wall
bash-3.2$ ./raptor_sdtcm_conv
raptor_sdtcm_conv.c - CDE sdtcm_convert LPE for Solaris/Intel
Copyright (c) 2019-2020 Marco Ivaldi <>
Using SI_PLATFORM : i86pc (5.10)
Using SI_HOSTNAME : nostalgia
Using stack base : 0x8047fff
Using rwx_mem address : 0xfeffa004
Using payload address : 0x8047dff
Using strcpy() address : 0xfefe26a0
Preparing the evil calendar file... Done.
Exploiting... Please answer "n" when prompted.
Loading the calendar ...
Do you want to correct it? (Y/N) [Y] n
# id
uid=0(root) gid=1(other) egid=12(daemon)
3. Affected Platforms.
All platforms shipping the Common Desktop Environment based on the CDE 1.x
codebase are potentially affected. This includes:
* Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 11) and earlier [default installation]
The open source version of CDE (based on the CDE 2.x codebase) is not affected,
because it does not ship the vulnerable program.
4. Fix.
Oracle has assigned the tracking# S1239395 and has released a fix for all
affected and supported versions of Solaris in the Critical Patch Update (CPU)
of April 2020.
As a workaround, it is also possible to remove the setuid bit from the
vulnerable executable as follows (note that this might prevent it from working
bash-3.2# chmod -s /usr/dt/bin/sdtcm_convert
Please note that during the audit many other potentially exploitable bugs have
surfaced in sdtcm_convert and in the Common Desktop Environment in general.
Therefore, removing the setuid bit from all CDE binaries is recommended,
regardless of patches released by vendors.
5. Proof of Concept.
An exploit for Oracle Solaris 10 1/13 (Update 11) Intel has been developed as a
proof of concept. It can be downloaded from:
Copyright (c) 2020 Marco Ivaldi and All rights reserved.